The Certification Program was begun in the fall of 1993 to provide educational opportunities to planning and zoning board of appeals members. This program is comprised of three, 3 hour long courses, and the seminars are held on different nights. These courses were designed to provide new board members with the basic information necessary to be able to participate in the board meetings. Topics of discussion cover fundamental information that all board members should know, as well as advanced information that seasoned board members could benefit from.
- Session I topics include: the law creating the boards, roles of the different players, board member responsibilities, and their limitations;
- Session II topics focus on the update of case law, State Environmental Quality Review Act case law, and discussions on State Law that may impact planning or zoning related issues – and the implications of some of these decisions;
- Session III consists of two simultaneous sessions – one that focuses on planning board related issues, such as comprehensive plans, site plans and map interpretation, subdivision review, cluster development, special permits, the State Environmental Quality Review Act – and the other on zoning board related issues, such as area variances, use variances, and special permits.
Each planning board and zoning board of appeals member is required to attend each course once to become certified, and then every other year, they must attend Session II, the "Update of Case Law," to become re-certified. These courses also count towards the State-mandated, four-hour annual yearly requirement that planning and zoning board members must attend.
Since the program has begun, 749 people have become certified, and 1,328 have been re-certified. The board members and other participants that were certified this past year can be found below.